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Saludos Desde Ukiah

Hello! My name is Miguel. I’ve live in Ukiah, California, which is over two hours north of San Francisco. It’s a small city with 16,000 people, and I live and go to school in a Buddhist monastery on it’s outskirts. Ukiah is known for it’s vineyards and wineries. My favorite season here is Fall, when the grape-fields turn into expanses of dark, rich, Autumn colors.

In my free time, I play soccer and lift weights. Throughout high school, I’ve played in the local rec league, the adult league, and in traveling/club teams. Soccer has been the source of so much joy in my life, but it’s also been an activity that I’ve stressed out a lot over. I’m still learning to stop worrying about how well I’ll play and just have fun. My soccer training got me interested in weightlifting, which helps focus and bring clarity to my mind.

I’m passionate about the way our minds work and learn, and my naive wish is to “crack it’s code” and have full control over it. I’m very interested in education. At school and in our school’s summer camp, I take care and help teach young kids (ie. kindergartners). It’s been a very eye opening opportunity seeing all the little quirks and mind-sets of children and relating that to how I used to be and how I understand the world today. In my free time, I also love to write, and enjoy jotting down reflections and ideas in my journal.

In Bolivia, I’m excited to try the Sopa de Mani (without meat though). It’s a peanut and potato soup with a creamy texture. It’s usually made with some beef and chicken, but can be made vegetarian as well.

“We don’t catch most of the stories we see and hear,” said a monk in a lecture a few days ago, “There’s so much value that we miss. We have to exercise our story-listening ears. If we understand these stories we can see how all the life around us speaks the Buddha’s words.” I’d never thought about training myself to listen and see stories, and I see now that it’s something I need to practice. In Bolivia, I’ll keep a journal and capture as many stories as I can. To me, the key to being aware of these stories is to travel with a mind set of humility and learning. My hope is that in Bolivia, I’ll always appreciate all the amazing stories that are going on around and within myself.